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Filed under: Family Camping, Safety on the Road, Traveling Tips

Fire Safety In Your RV

April 30, 2010 by · 3 Comments 


Picture of flamesThere isn’t anything that can ruin your vacation faster then a fire. The devastation a fire can be catastrophic. In addition to causing an out of control wildfire, there is the potential for loss of life and property.

Smoke and CO Detectors

Most people make sure they have working smoke detectors in their home. Do you have smoke detectors in your RV? Do you check the batteries each time you take it out? This is your first line of defense! There has been a lot of talk the last few years about putting carbon monoxide detectors in your home in addition to the traditional smoke detector. This is extremely important in an RV. The RV is considerably smaller than the average home; there is less clean air to mix with the deadly gas. To avoid asphyxiation have a working carbon monoxide detector in your RV and always make sure you have plenty of fresh air circulation. Open overhead vents and turn on exhaust fan when you are cooking.

Fire Extinguishers

You should make sure that you have a five-pound ABC rated fire extinguisher near each exit. It is also wise to have an extinguisher in an unlocked outside compartment of your RV. Fire Safety may not be on the mind of the camper next door. If you have an extinguisher close at hand you can prevent a catastrophe.

Check the gauge on your extinguisher regularly to make sure it is fully charged. This is simple to do, if the needle is pointing to the Green area it is good, if the needle is pointing to the red area it needs to be recharged. The extinguisher is not safe to use if the needle is pointing to the red.

Just remember “Green means go” and “Red means stop.”

Standard instructions for using a Fire Extinguisher:

Position yourself no more than 10 feet from exit. You can not predict how fast a fire will spread and you do not want to get trapped.

If you have the right size and type fire extinguisher and the fire is not to large to fight safely remember the PASS acronym. This is simply:

Pulling the pin on a fire extinguisher

Pull the safety pin at the top of the fire extinguisher.

Aim at the base of the flames.

Squeeze the handle of the fire extinguisher.

Sweep from side to side until the fire is out.

While cooking in the home or in you RV it is always advisable to have a container of baking soda near the stove to quickly smother any small fires before they get out of control.

Make sure you get the people out to the RV before you fight the fire! The RV can be replaced the people can nott.

Call 911 or the emergency number applicable in the area. Fires grow in size quickly.

Evacuation Plans

Make sure everyone in you RV knows how to operate all of the doors and emergency exits. Have them practice. It may seem like getting out is easy, but when the RV is filled with smoke and people start to panic, it becomes more difficult.

As you would at home, have a place outside the RV where everyone can meet and be accounted for.

Evacuate the RV, then CALL 911. Or, have someone else call. RV’s go up in flames very fast.

Smell of Gas

If you smell gas extinguish all open flames including; pilot lights, lamps, smoking materials and any thing else you may have that could ignite the gas.

Do NOT operate any electrical switches inside the affected RV. The small spark that can be created by the simple act of turning on or off a switch may cause an explosion.

Shut off the gas supply.

Leave the unit until the odor is gone.

Have a qualified tradesperson check and repair the gas system before using it again.

The Vehicle

Maintenance of your engine and transmission is imperative. Fix oil leaks as soon as possible, especially on an automatic transmission. Transmission fluid is highly flammable and can ignite easily.

Fire safety is everyone’s responsibility. When you park your RV, be aware of the fact that the exhaust manifold and the catalytic converter get hot while you drive. If you pull into an area with dry grass or weeds, the heat from your RV’s manifold or catalytic converter may ignite the grass or weeds and cause a major fire. Wild fires burn incredibly fast!

To ensure that your vacation is uninterrupted by an unpleasant or disastrous fire make sure you know basic fire safety rules, how to escape the RV in an emergency, where the fire extinguishers are, and how to use all of the fire safety equipment.

Have a great trip. Free of fire related tragedy!


3 Responses to “Fire Safety In Your RV”
  1. jeff says:

    heh for those that use space heaters, ceremic heaters, etc
    was in a campground and saw a 2004 pace arrow, ceramic heater was close toooooo close to conbustables, smolded for hours, ruined inside of MH

  2. RA Manseau says:

    Jeff, thanks for that reminder. It says right on the box to keep the heater a safe distance from combustibles. My space heater actually specifies three feet on all sides. It sounds like the MH you mention was left unattended with the heater on. It is lucky the owners weren’t sleeping! This is a great illustration for the value of smoke detectors.


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